"It was the same with your father, you know," Jackie says four days after Norway, because in all the confusion of worlds being saved and the Tyler women bringing home a different man, four days later is the first chance she gets. Tony's obliviously grinding a track in the carpet pushing a toy car back and forth over the same two inches, Pete's at work and the Doctor -- not yet used to the limitations of a very human body – lies fast asleep on the sofa at three in the afternoon.
It's not until Jackie thrusts the teacup into her daughter's hands that Rose seems to realize her mother has spoken at all. She's been like that these four days – floating in and out, like she's walking between parallel worlds even as her feet stay rooted to the same soil.
"Meeting him again, I mean," Jackie continues. "Same face, same voice, same daft schemes –" She pauses to consider gold lip on the teacup she's holding, the vastness of their kitchen. "…Well, maybe not so daft… point is he was the same man, Rose – only he wasn't, not really. I thought, 'he's a Pete Tyler, but he's not my Pete Tyler'."
Tony makes a vroom vroom noise and crashes the tiny car into the sofa where the Doctor sleeps on, oblivious. Rose stares at her tea, chews her lip and says nothing.
"Thing is, Rose," Jackie continues, "maybe he's not the Pete Tyler I married first, maybe he's not your Dad, not really, but he's made of the same stuff; all those things I married him for, they're the same."
Rose cranes her neck around in time to see the Doctor roll over, one hand – the hand, she can't help but think – flopping over the edge of the couch. Tony regards the sudden obstruction in his imaginary speedway for only a moment before adjusting his car's path accordingly.
"It's just…" Rose starts, then pauses when she realizes even she's not sure what the problem just is, not yet. "…He's still out there, Mum, back in his proper universe and – it's like I've replaced him with …him." She laughs nervously because it's a ridiculous sentence, a ridiculous concept, and really everything about her life has been ridiculous since that day so long ago when the mannequins started moving.
"S'not replacing, though," Jackie reasons, "not really. It's – moving on, in the best possible way."
Rose takes a long sip of tea, her fingers curled all the way around the cup, then finally meets her mother's eyes. "He's …different, Mum," she says, and Jackie thinks it sounds more like a plea for understanding than a statement of fact. " Not much – just barely – but he is."
"'Course he is! He's human! Now I don't know about you, but I would think that's a good thing."
But Rose looks uncertain still as she sets down the teacup, so Jackie reaches across the table to grab her hand.
"Now you listen to me, Rose Tyler. Maybe he's not your Doctor – maybe he never will be, just as the Pete I've got now will never be the one that gave me you – but I reckon that if you give this Doctor time, he can end up meaning just as much to you as the one flying around some other sky, going God knows where. "
"Yeah," Rose says, though she sounds unsure, and behind her, Tony's toy car accidentally collides the Doctor's dangling hand. He sits up instantly, eyes wide, and splutters a half-panicked "What? What's happen—" before he hears Tony's entertained giggle, sees the offending car and sinks back to the couch.
"Oi! Watch where you're driving or I'll have your license revoked, Mr. Tyler," he quips, pointing one finger down at Tony importantly.
He says it just enough like Donna to catch Rose's attention, and then all at once he's stopped pointing and his face has split into the grin that is so unmistakably Doctor. Tony holds up a toy zeppelin like a peace offering, the Doctor takes it, and Jackie keeps her hand on Rose's.
"Honestly," he goes on, "two pedals, one wheel, hardly any levers and you lot can barely keep the things on the road."
Jackie rolls her eyes, but Rose gives her mum's hand a tight squeeze back.
"Yeah," she says again, this time with conviction, then she flashes a smile and rises from the table to go join her brother and her Doctor.